Online payment comes to SOS

Other than the birds, there is not much activity on campus at 5 a.m., and yet one University of Lethbridge faculty or staff member was already making a difference by contributing to Supporting Our Students (SOS). This early morning act of generosity was made possible by the new online payroll deduction form launched last month.

"This is exactly the type of support we wanted to enable," says Jamie Chinn (BSc '03), business systems analyst in information technology services enterprise systems, who was the driving force behind the new form. "We needed to capture the people who are motivated to make a gift but want the process to be simple and immediate."

IT Team
Pictured (l to r) are Rahim Kanjiyani, Jamie Chinn and Darin McGee, the IT team that created the new online deduction form for the Supporting Our Students campaign.

As an SOS volunteer, Chinn actively promotes the campaign. In talking to faculty and staff across campus, it became clear that the paper form was a problem.

"We wanted to remove that barrier and make it as easy as possible for faculty and staff to make their gift through payroll deduction," says Chinn.

While developing an online form may seem simple, there was a lot of activity behind the scenes. Chinn worked with people in departments across campus, such as Anna Linville in advancement, Joel Makin in financial services and Deb Robb in human resources to make sure that the final product would meet everyone's needs.

"Everyone really came together over this project," says Chinn. "I think that shows the commitment of U of L faculty and staff to our students. We are not only contributing money to a scholarship campaign, we're giving of our time and our expertise to make sure that campaign is successful. It's a strong statement about the community here."

Once a plan was in place, Chinn passed the project off to Darin McGee (BSc '09) and Rahim Kanjiyani to build. The two programmer analysts donated their time on evenings and weekends to complete the project.

"I'm still paying for my own education, so this was a different way for me to get involved and give back," says McGee, who is happy to be able to contribute in a meaningful way.

It is difficult to calculate the total number of hours spent on this project but the trio of volunteers agrees it was more than originally estimated. Despite the challenges, they all see it as time well spent.

"I was happy to pay it forward," says Chinn. "I donate to SOS but one person can only do so much. By making giving that much easier, this tool will hopefully help enhance the culture of support at the U of L and perpetuate faculty and staff giving across campus."

To make your gift through payroll deduction, simply log in to the Bridge (, click the Employee tab, click Supporting Our Students and follow the instructions.

This story first appeared in the June 2012 issue of the Legend. For a look at the entire issue in flipbook format, follow this link.